Magic Steam Mop

John Will (Master Grappler) received a message on Facebook from one of his friends saying that ‘he was just mugged in the Philippines … and hinted that he was penniless and stuck there’.   John was suspicious of the wording and asked a BJJ security question, something only his friend would know the answer to.  Needless to say, it was a scam.  This happens quite often on Facebook by people who hack accounts and pose as FRIENDS.

So, too, in the big WORLD of martial arts, we can expect some sort of scamming ie people after your  money.  Because Instructors are not licenced by any government regulating body they are not held accountable for what they say or do making it difficult for the average person to know what they are getting into.  These scammers (I hope not many of them) believe they are, or pretend to be qualified in the martial arts and do very well using clever marketing.  That spells 'gullible' but you only have to look at those people who are gullible enough to buy those useless Magic Steam Mops advertised on television. Maybe, we give one of these Steam Mops away to everybody who signs up.

These type of people have a fascination with belts and ranks and and look for an easy way to get promoted.  They love to add years to their training by not mentioning they had a 10 year break in between, and there are those who claim starting training as child with the few months they did but actually started training 10 years later.  I might as well claim 20 years training in BJJ if I count from my first seminar with John Will in 1992.

As an Instructor, it is important for him or her to maintain credibility based on years of training and authentic credentialisation.  Ranks and claims that are not genuine will only disrepute the Instructor and school. 

Hint: people who are after ranks don’t usually train, people that train are not usually after ranks. 

Don’t Worry!

If we look at the martial arts as a language then we get a lot more meaning and understanding of our training.  Any language is a very sophisticated and useful tool based on many words with different interpretations.  One wrong word can lead to a misunderstanding.  If we equate this to martial arts the similarities are incredible.

The point here is there are many techniques (words) just so there are many techniques in the martial arts and they may all have different interpretations.  In fact, there are so many out there, it is impossible for one person to be able to learn them all.  Of course, each Instructor has a way of teaching and each school has a syllabus which is the minimum requirement for each progressive level, however, sometimes certain techniques may not suit every individual because not everybody is made the same.  As the Instructor, I, sometimes, need to modify techniques for certain individuals.  These individuals may not necessarily be lacking physical ability but they just don't gel with a particular technique.  Sometimes, it's just a matter of explaining it differently or modifying it.  My favourite saying, ‘problem solved!’

BJJ is such an evolving ‘language’ with new techniques coming up almost every day.  I ask, does anyone know every single word in the English language?  Of course not, but everybody tries to learn as much as they can.  So, too, in the martial arts, so there is no reason to worry for not knowing everything.

The Way it Used to Be

My first memories of karate are of a young naive kid sweating all over a rough wooden surface in a Scout Hall.  I would catch two buses and walk a kilometre to the dojo, I would never speak to the Instructor and he would never speak to me.  The training was 2 hours long, the floor had no mats and sparring gear was non existent (we sparred bare knuckle and no mouthguard).  This sounds all negative but I was truly inspired because it was an honour just to be accepted into a school.

After training I had to walk back up one of the steepest hills in the world (I reckon) and by then I had worked up such a thirst, I would reward myself with a soft drink from the drink machine which was located next to the bus stop in the middle of nowhere; must’ve been strategically put there for people climbing up that hill.

If you got injured you had to suck it up.  If you wanted to complain you went to the bathroom and talk to yourself.  Water and toilet breaks only when you were allowed to.  You did as you were told and you had to follow the rules.  All this, just to learn Karate.  No matter how bad it was, there was always loyalty and respect with each other and the Instructor which is a diminishing thing today because the new generation have their own ideas and want to question everything.  Questioning is a good thing but not to the point where it doesn’t get you anywhere and waste valuable time. 

The way martial arts is today (which is far better) ie mats, drink machine, punching bags; now you can speak to the Instructor and they will speak to you and even shake hands however I believe what made us real warriors is something a young Instructor cannot convey to their students or relate to.  History always plays a part in building the future.

Tell Somebody Who Cares

In the martial arts there is complexity and there is also simplicity.  Complexity for the people who want to take their training to a higher level purely for the indulgence of the art.  Simplicity is the bread and butter stuff. Complex techniques will not readily work unless drilled many times over and even then there is no guarantee of victory in a real situation.  The problem is people spend many hours trying to make the complex techniques work because the quick and easy ones don't require much training which lacks passion with the martial arts. 

We must also remember people like the martial arts for the challenge and self defence is only a little part of it.  Of course this is going to vary depending on the individual.  A person who is a security guard is more likely to want to do it for the I do like to teach some of these complex moves purely to see what is out there; I do stress that and say 'enjoy it for what it is'.  The last thing is an Instructor to be responsible for one of their students to hurt someone or themselves as a result of being told what to do by the Instructor.   As an Instructor I like to make sure students ENJOY themselves because this is the key motivating factor for improvement.   There’s nothing better than a student coming up to you at the end of the class to say how much they have enjoyed themselves and looking forward to the next one.  I don't think any student would go up to an Instructor and tell them how good their Instructor is.  I might even get it via SMS or Facebook.  I look at every student as an individual and try to analyse and see what motivates which is what I enjoy the most. 

10 Reasons for Training Martial Arts

I put a few things together to remind ourselves how good we have it in the martial arts.  I've also posted this on a new page on the website.

1. Learn Life Skills – One of the greatest aspects of martial arts training is the life skills it instils in students. Focus, courtesy, respect and goal setting are just some of the basic to be gained.
2. Fitness – Martial arts training provides a great opportunity to get in shape and enjoy doing it!
3. Self-Defence – In today’s society, we want to know our children are safe and we can protect our families if necessary. Martial arts curriculum will enable children to understand what to do if dangerous situations occur and give them the confidence to deal with tough issues such as bullies and stranger awareness.
4. Family Bonding – It’s an experience the whole family can enjoy together.  What other activities offer this type of opportunity?  Martial arts is a wonderful and positive activity for the young and the young at heart. The entire amily can go through the process of earning belts and learning something together.
5. Individual Achievement – In the martial arts, nobody sits on the bench!  Unlike some other traditional sports, martial arts training is not a team activity. Martial Artists strive to become better than they were the day before and not be judged by the performance of the person standing next to them.  Individuals are challenged and pushed to achieve their own personal best.
6. Social Network of Positive People – The saying goes, “It takes a community to raise a child.” Martial arts is a great way to surround yourself with positive influences that will have a lasting impact on your family.
7. Achieve Goals – The built-in system of earning belts teaches setting and achieving goals and itinstils the discipline of hard work. The rewards will last a lifetime!
8. Carry on a Tradition – Martial arts training has been around for centuries, so you become a partof something special and to help carry on the tradition and philosophies.
9. Learn about Life Skills – Training is a great way to learn skills which will help or influence life in a positive way.
10. Have Fun – There are many serious sides to training; however, the best part of training is how  much fun it is.